In his opening speech, IAF President Harry van Dalfsen showed his optimism about the global fashion industry. Although it faces great challenges, he said, it is full of great examples of companies finding new ways to entice customers, add new value, expand markets and improve its hugely complex supply chain. The theme of this 30th World Fashion Convention is therefore about overcoming challenges and this is highlighted by the location of the Convention, Medellín, a city which has very clearly undergone an enormous positive change.
Van Dalfsen sees as a positive sign of the times, also in Colombia, the strong role of emerging economy’s apparel industries. On the market side, he noticed the growing power of local brands in emerging markets. Strong local brands inspire international brands to adapt their global style to local circumstances and international brands force local brands to learn more quickly to compete.
On the supply side the IAF President stated in his opening speech that he believes that positive changes in the apparel industry will be driven more the coming decade by investments in the manufacturing part of the industry. A new, more balanced relation between brands, retailers and manufacturers is needed to make joint decisions on investments, improving productivity, working conditions and reducing costs and environmental footprint.